Broadway Update: Doubt, Prayer, Writers and Musicians Up in Arms
By: David Sheward
Tony and Emmy winner Tyne Daly and Tony winner Liev Schreiber will headline the first Broadway revival of John Patrick Shanley’s Doubt: A Parable, presented by Roundabout Theater Company with performances beginning in February 2024. Tony Award nominee Scott Ellis directs. The play about a strong-willed nun confronting a priest over a suspected illicit relationship with a young male student originally premiered Off-Broadway in 2004 at Manhattan Theater Club’s City Center space. That production starred Cherry Jones, Brian F. O’Byrne, Heather Goldenhersh, and Adriane Lenox and later transferred to Broadway where it won four Tony Awards including Best Play and the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. A 2008 film version starred Meryl Streep, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams and Viola Davis.
Speaking of Manhattan Theater Club, the company will present the Broadway premiere of Joshua Harmon’s Prayer for the French Republic, which was seen at MTC’s City Center stage in 2022 where it won the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Play and the Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Off-Broadway Play. The play concerns three generations of a French-Jewish family as they deal with the horrors of anti-Semitism. David Cromer repeats his direction and performances begin at the Samuel J. Friedman in February 2024. Casting and specific dates will be announced at a later date. MTC’s first Broadway offering of the season will be Jocelyn Bioh’s Jaja’s African Hair-Braiding, dealing with the titular Harlem styling establishment, which will open sometime during the fall.
In other news, the Tonys are back on TV. What a relief to the theatre community. The Tony producers have reached an agreement with the striking Writers Guild of America. The scribes have agreed not to picket the awards as long the show does not use a pre-written script. However, the WGA has since requested its members not to appear on the show, but to send a videotaped acceptance speech or to send a non-WGA member to accept in their place. This affects such nominees as Tom Stoppard, Amber Ruffin, Martyna Majok, and Sara Bareilles who is not nominated for her writing, but for her performance in Into the Woods. The Tonys will be presented on June 11 on CBS with a pre-show ceremony on the Pluto TV streaming service.
The American Federation of Musicians, the musicians’ union covering Broadway, is also raising its collective voice. The union is objecting to plans for the upcoming production of Here Lies Love to be performed to pre-recorded tracks. The David Byrne-Fatboy Slim musical about the Filipina First Lady Imelda Marcos’ rise to and fall from power, originally opened Off-Broadway at the Public Theater in 2013. The production has issued a statement that the decision is part of David Byrne’s concept of paying homage to disco track acts and the Filipino tradition of karaoke. The union has responded with an online petition against the show’s lack of live musicians. Preview performances are scheduled to begin June 17 at the Broadway Theater.
The two union stories are related in that both unions are expressing concerns about advancing technology like artificial intelligence eliminating their jobs.
2023-24 Broadway/Off-Broadway Calendar
June 4–This Land Was Made (Vineyard Theatre)
June 5–Days of Wine and Roses (Atlantic Theatre Company)
June 6–Wet Brain (Playwrights Horizons/MCC)
June 6–Drama Desk Awards (Sardi’s)
June 11–Tony Awards (United Palace)
June 22–Once Upon a One More Time (Marquis)
June 26–Just for Us (Hudson)
June 28–Hamlet (Delacorte/Shakespeare in the Park)
July 9–Orpheus Descending (TFANA/Polonsky Shakespeare Center)
July 20–Here Lies Love (Broadway)
July 20–Flex (Mitzi Newhouse/LCT)
July 24–The Cottage (Hayes)
Aug. 3–Back to the Future (Marquis)
Aug. 10–The Shark Is Broken (Golden)
Aug. 20–El Mago Pop (Barrymore)
Sept. 19–Merrily We Roll Along (begins previews; opening TBA) (Hudson)
September–Here We Are (The Shed Griffin Theater)
September–The Refuge Plays (Roundabout/NYTW/Laura Pels)
October–I Need That (Roundabout/AA)
Nov. 13–Harmony (Barrymore)
Jan. 9–Prayer for the French Republic (MTC/Friedman)
Feb.–Doubt: A Parable (Roundabout/AA)
Jaja’s African Hair Braiding (MTC/Friedman)
I Can Get It for You Wholesale (CSC)
Poor Yella Rednecks (MTC/City Center Stage I)
An Enemy of the People
I Love You So Much I Could Die (NYTW)
Here There Are Blueberries (NYTW)
Jonah (Roundabout/Laura Pels)
Wine in the Wilderness (CSC)
King Lear (Kenneth Branagh Theater Company/The Shed)
Future–Ain’t Supposed to Die a Natural Death; Black Orpheus; BOOP! The Betty Boop Musical; Come Fall in Love–The DDLJ Musical; The Devil Wears Prada; Ella: An American Miracle; Everybody’s Talking About Jamie; Frida, the Musical; Game of Thrones; The Great Gatsby; The Griswolds’ Broadway Vacation; High Noon; Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat; The Karate Kid; La La Land; Lempicka; Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil; The Mousetrap; Nancy Drew and the Mystery at Spotlight Manor; Our Town; Pal Joey; The Nanny; The Normal Heart/The Destiny of Me; The Secret Garden; Sing Street; Soul Train; Water for Elephants; What a Wonderful World; The Who’s Tommy; Working Girl